Portion of Wyoming’s Teton Pass Collapses

June 10, 2024
Vital link failed and left a section of highway missing

A portion of Wyoming’s Teton Pass collapsed Saturday, leaving the primary transit route between small towns in eastern Idaho and the tourist destination of Jackson impassable for the time being.

The Teton County branch of the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) announced early Saturday that the road at milepost 12.8 on Teton Pass had "catastrophically failed" and shared several images on social media of the damage.

Officials said crews were trying to set up a detour around the initial collapse when the landslide broke down further and effectively destroyed a whole section of the surrounding highway. No one was hurt. The road was then permanently closed following the collapse.

Geologists and engineers who were sent to the area that day noticed “that crack and that drop started to move a lot,” said Stephanie Harsha, a spokesperson for District 3 of WYDOT, to Nbcrightnow.com. A paving crew temporarily patched the road, and traffic was moving again that night.

Crews then noticed that the damage to the pavement had become more pronounced. Workers trying to figure out a detour around that section left for the night, “and by 5 a.m., this morning, WYDOT had discovered that the road had completely failed,” Harsha said to Nbcrightnow.com.

“We were very, very lucky that no crews were harmed. No equipment was damaged,” she said Saturday. “So now, engineers and geologists are doing geological assessments on the pass. They’ve been looking at it all day.”

It was not immediately clear how long it will take to reopen the road which is also close to the Grand Teton National Park.

Harsha said an alternate route between Jackson and the area of Victor, Idaho, goes more than 60 miles out of the way but adds time onto any commute.

Gov. Mark Gordon signed an executive order declaring an emergency, saying his office is trying to secure funding from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to begin repair work.

In a statement, the governor said the transportation department is actively working on a long-term solution.

“I recognize the significant impacts this closure has to Teton County residents, regional commuters and the local economy,” Gordon said in a statement.

Source: Nbcrightnow.com, CBS News

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